The new Hazard Communication Standard: What you need to know to be compliant

Changes to OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) covers more than 43 million workers who produce or handle hazardous chemicals in more than five million workplaces across the country

10/18/2013


Both producers and users of chemicals will be affected by the upcoming changes to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The existing HCS provides guidance for defining chemical hazards but is not consistent with global standards. While the intent and scope of HCS will remain the same, OSHA has decided to align HCS with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals to introduce global consistency.

The new standard covers over 43 million workers who produce or handle hazardous chemicals in more than five million workplaces across the country. The modification is expected to prevent more than 500 workplace injuries and illnesses and 43 fatalities. Once fully implemented, the standard will also:

  • Improve the quality and consistency of hazard information in the workplace, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive.
  • Enhance worker comprehension of hazards, especially for low and limited-literacy workers, reduce confusion in the workplace, facilitate safety training, and result in safer handling and use of chemicals.
  • Provide workers with quicker and more efficient access to information on the SDSs.
  • Result in cost savings to American businesses of more than $500 million in productivity improvements, fewer SDS and label updates, and simpler new hazard communication training.
  • Reduce trade barriers by harmonizing with systems around the world.

There are four major changes to the existing standard: hazard classification, labels, data sheets, and training. 

Hazard Classification

Chemical manufacturers are required to determine the hazard and classification of the chemicals they produce or import, and will be required to follow the new, specific criteria outlined by GHS. Businesses that distribute or use the chemicals will not need to do their own testing to determine the classification of the chemicals unless they are modifying the chemicals received from the manufacturer.

Labels

Source: OSHAAfter appropriate classification of the chemicals, chemical manufacturers will be required to create hazard labels according to GHS guidelines that include: the product identifier, supplier identification, hazard pictogram(s), signal word, hazard statement(s), and precautionary statement(s).

OSHA has not changed the general requirements related to workplace labeling; employers have the option to create their own workplace labels and/or continue to use rating systems such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) diamonds or follow the Hazardous Materials Identification System requirements for workplace labels as long as the employees have immediate access to the specific hazard information. 

Data Sheets

In addition to creating the GHS hazard label, the chemical manufacturer is also responsible for creating a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The major difference between SDS and the existing MSDS is the required 16-section format, which is still very similar to the current voluntary ANSI standard found on many MSDS today. 

Training

Source: National Safety CouncilAs a result of these changes, training will be extremely important for anyone handling chemicals, including manufacturers, importers, distributors, and end users. By December 1, 2013, employers must train all of their employees to be able to recognize and understand the GHS guidelines related to hazard classification, labels, and SDS format.

The OSHA rules recognize that full implementation of GHS by chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers must be complete by June 1, 2015. There are two exceptions: Distributors have an additional six months to ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old HCS, and employers have until June 1, 2016 to update their workplace labeling systems.

There will be costs associated with GHS compliance, with most of those costs being incurred by the chemical manufacturers. Potential costs include assigning personnel and resources to create the new labels and SDS, as well as the cost to train employees. OSHA strongly believes the benefits of implementing GHS will significantly outweigh the costs, with the ultimate goal of reducing workplace injuries and fatalities.

HCS has historically been on OSHA’s top-cited list, and OSHA will be increasing inspection activity related to GHS over the next several years. By following the implementation dates set by OSHA, businesses can avoid costly citations. There are a number of resources available on OSHA’s website; if you would like additional information, visit Grainger.com and search GHS. 

Kelli Baker has the OSHA-30 certification and has facilitated various webinars and seminars related to GHS. Wes Maertz is an Authorized Outreach OSHA trainer and is a Certified Safety Professional.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.